Streams of light and knowledge

New technology
Companies who care for their employees as well as their image and finances need to invest in the right work space layout. And the way they are lit is one of the most important issues for the efficiency and well-being of the workforce.

A well-designed office represents significant added value for its users. This is of particular importance for Generation Y, which was born into the hi-tech world. “These highly qualified people can be amazingly creative as long as the employer provides them with the right conditions,” says Agnieszka Operhalska, the sales director of the real estate degment at Philips Lighting.

Not only the lighting

Philips Lighting has been responsible for the lighting systems in many modern office buildings, including Q22 in Warsaw, which earned the distinction of ‘New Office Building of the Year’ at the Eurobuild Awards last year. “The system used in Q22 is based on the ‘light beyond illumination’ philosophy of providing a much greater range of lighting – something that is much more important than people generally believe. Thanks to the innovative way it was installed, the workplaces are very friendly for both the employees and the natural environment,” insists Agnieszka Operhalska. “Achieving such a result was only possible thanks to the close cooperation between the investor, the architect and our company,” she adds.

The glass façade of the building allows a great deal of daylight to penetrate it, but this is complemented by 3.5 km of LED tube lights. These are extremely efficient and economic to use. It is worth mentioning that all the common areas in the 150m tower are lit by just 725 LED tubes, which is enough to guarantee the right comfort of usage. The fittings provided by Philips adjust automatically to the time of day and the natural light intensity. This is controlled using the DALI system (digital addressable light interface), which is linked to the building’s BMS.

“Initially the investor was planning to equip the building with a conventional lighting system; however, after taking into consideration the comfort of the users, opted instead for our products,” explains Agnieszka Operhalska.

Experts for experts

Another recent challenge for Philips Lighting was designing the lighting system for the Polish HQ of global design giant BuroHappold Engineering. “As engineers we know that light has a huge impact on the health and well-being of employees, which is why we wanted our office to feature an energy effective lighting system that would provide the appropriate level of light at any time of day,” says Ian Booth, a partner at BuroHappold Engineering, adding that “Philips Lighting’s intelligent systems also maximise the power savings as well as the visual comfort of office users.”

BuroHappold’s new Polish head office in Warsaw’s Spektrum Tower exemplifies the company’s philosophy to emphasise sustainable development, its environmentally-friendly approach and the comfort of its employees. According to the concept for its offices, this branch of BuroHappold is to be a showcase for the best approaches in office design while the health and well-being of the employees are held up as equally as important.

BuroHappold’s eco-friendly approach can be seen at every turn in its Warsaw office. The staff have no problems getting to work using public transport, while the company also encourages them to use bicycles – by providing changing rooms, drying rooms and showers for cyclists. Recycled water is used for the toilet flushing. A computer system, which constantly monitors the water and electricity consumption, can be used for both reducing costs and educating the staff.

Since employee efficiency can be more than doubled thanks to better lighting in the workplace, the heads of BuroHappold’s Polish branch decided to collaborate with Philips Lighting on installing the ideal system. The main factor involved in choosing the right system was the glass façade of Spektrum Tower, which allows direct sunlight to penetrate the interior of the building. The structure of the suspended ceilings guarantees light reflection of up to as much as 85 pct, 99 pct of which is diffused. All the flat surfaces – ceilings, floors and even the desk tops – have been specifically selected to direct the light into the deepest sections of the office. Individually controlled blinds and roller blinds also add to the light control possibilities.

However, the amount of light available is not everything. The colour of the lighting is also important. Light with a high colour rendering (CRI) index is required for the accurate colour perception needed in engineering work. The control system can also adjust the lighting colour for different uses: in the office section, colder tones are used to assist concentration; while in the communal areas relaxing, warm colours are used.

Tested on Philips

Philips’ latest systems are being tested out in its own offices. A few years ago they were considering moving out of their current Warsaw premises, but eventually opted for major renovations and a complete transformation of the offices of Philips Lighting and Philips Royal. An extensive restructuring of the office space was carried out in line with the trend for Activity Based Workspace. The offices were to become a showcase of the company’s technological capacities and at the same time an ergonomic and fully interactive work area. “One of the innovations used in Philips Lighting’s HQ is a specially designed mobile app that allows the employees to control the lighting and temperature in the office,” points out Philips Lighting’s CEE spokesperson Dorota Sławińska. “Each of the rooms and each of the desks have been given QR code labels. Scanning these with the app allows users to control the lighting and air- conditioning according to their needs and preferences.” she explains.

The refurbished offices are now a work environment fully adapted to the various everyday activities and tasks performed by employees and that is also suited to their individual working styles. In the focus rooms they can carry out tasks that require concentration, while phone booths have also been installed in the office so that phone conversations do not disturb the people working in the open space nearby.

“The organisation of Philips’ office was determined by the employees’ needs and the most effective space utilisation,” emphasises Dorota Sławińska. The human- centric lighting concept was employed, based on adjusting the light to individual users’ needs – including the performance of everyday tasks. The lighting in the office can helpt to create ideal conditions for relaxation as well as improving efficiency and the ability to concentrate. Integrating the artificial with the natural light available and following the rhythms of the latter improves employees’ health levels, reduces errors and as a result increases their satisfaction and productivity. The Philips Infosys office in Łódź has also been prepared according to a similar philosophy.

“Comfort in the office does not just merely involve having an attractive kitchen and comfortable armchairs, but also requires ergonomic space suitable for the style and rhythm of the work. Companies who care for their image should thoroughly analyse their work space organisation,” insists Dorota Sławińska.

“Having tested pioneering solutions in our own offices, we are in a position to give the best possible advice to our clients and implement innovative but proven concepts in their projects,” adds Radosław Buczkowski, the head of the lighting design team at Philips Lighting. “The office space of the future we are creating for our employees also works perfectly in other organisations, as long as they are open to progress and have the ambition to push their work culture up to a significantly higher level.